5ish Links

The Luck of the Wolverines

(First published on 3/17/17 on 5ish Links, my newsletter — more)

A Friday. St. Patrick’s Day. And the NCAA Tournament going on. What more can you ask for? If you’re me, a Michigan win.

But really, just an incredible run by my alma mater. Following a nearly disastrous plane crash — their plane ran off the runway and crashed at full speed during takeoff because of 65 mph winds — they had to get back on a plane the next day in order to make their first game at the Big Ten Tournament.

Many players, understandably, did not want to get back on a plane, so they considered forfeiting the game. Instead, Michigan, the 8-seed in the tournament of 14 teams, won four games in four days to win the Big Ten.

Did I mention they played their first game in their practice jerseys? Because their actual uniforms were still stuck on the plane that crashed. And now a great first round win in the NCAA tournament. An insane, terrifying, and incredible past couple of weeks. Go Blue.


5ish Links

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How the Internet Is Saving Culture

Farhad Manjoo:

The internet taught a whole generation that content was not something you really had to pay for. So for years, digital content companies — especially those in the online news business — looked doomed to pursue a scale-only, ad-based business model. They tried to reach tens of millions of readers, viewers or listeners in the hopes of getting pennies in ads per user. Not only was that unsustainable, it was also ruining culture: It left no room for small acts and subtle niches, and it turned everything into overheated clickbait. Things looked gloomy.

And yet, now:

More than 20 years after it first caught mainstream attention and began to destroy everything about how we finance culture, the digital economy is finally beginning to coalesce around a sustainable way of supporting content. If subscriptions keep taking off, it won’t just mean that some of your favorite creators will survive the internet. It could also make for a profound shift in the way we find and support new cultural talent. It could lead to a wider variety of artists and art, and forge closer connections between the people who make art and those who enjoy it.

Obviously, I hope Medium is a part of this story. Regardless, it is starting to feel like the time is finally right for this… The internet has long enabled art and endeavors such as journalism to scale reach like never before in the history of human kind. Now it’s time to scale business models to match.


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Welcome To Mars! Enjoy Perpetual Jet Lag Under An Eerie Red Sky

Rebecca Boyle:

Mars rotates, too, but just a tad more slowly. A Mars rotation, the “sol” to our “day,” takes 39 minutes and 35 seconds longer than the 24-hour day we experience on Earth. For future colonists living on Mars, this added time would be akin to flying two time zones westward every three days. You would be constantly jet-lagged.

This sounds like my nightmare.

Even if we split up Mars time into Earth months for tradition’s sake, we would need to add 10 extra ones, because Mars takes 1.88 Earth years to complete one orbit around the sun. Mars is tilted on its axis the way Earth is, so it has seasons like Earth does, but its orbit is deeply eccentric, meaning Martian seasons last much longer and are much more extreme than anything on Earth.

Sounds Westerosian


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‘The Matrix’ Reboot in the Works

Borys Kit, Kim Masters, and Rebecca Ford:

It’s still not clear what shape the project will take, but sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Warner Bros. is in the early stages of developing a relaunch of The Matrix, the iconic 1999 sci-fi movie that is considered one of the most original films in cinematic history, with Zak Penn in talks to write a treatment.

But:

While promoting John Wick: Chapter 2, Reeves said he would be open to returning for another installment of the franchise if the Wachowskis were involved. “They would have to write it and direct it. And then we’d see what the story is, but yeah, I dunno, that’d be weird, but why not?” he told Yahoo Movies. However, it is likely that Warners will look elsewhere to attract an A-list director and star.
While some at Warners consider the title among the studio’s sacrosanct properties, such as Casablanca, others see a need to redevelop it in an environment where studios are desperately looking for ways to monetize their libraries and branded IP is hard to come by.

That, Mr. Anderson, is the sound of inevitability

Almost zero chance they don’t fuck this up. Of course, many people think the Wachowskis already fucked up the sequels. But looking back, they weren’t so bad. The Matrix Reloaded, in particular, has its moments. Though maybe it has just been too long since I’ve watched them. But I’m certain they were infinitely better than the Star Wars prequels.


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Inside John Calipari’s Media Empire

Fascinating look at the machine behind Kentucky Coach John Calipari’s — who is a luddite — online presence by Marc Tracy:

Today — with the aid of full-time staff members in Kentucky’s sports information and image operations, who transcribe and publish the thoughts and musings of the tech-illiterate coach — things are different. “Now,” he said, “I can respond in 30 seconds.”

There’s something Trumpian about this — albeit in a very different sphere.


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Why Does Jim Nantz Give Away His Tie at the End of the Tournament?

Yaron Weitzman went looking for something snarky, and came away with something profound:

“My voice is my dad’s voice,” Nantz said. “I sound exactly like him, but no one ever interviewed him. But I have a recorder in front of me and so my voice on this has to be heard. I can tell you this: If I don’t see Alzheimer’s wiped out before I die, my life will not be successful.”

Kudos to Weitzman for following where the story went, rather than the path he was looking to take…


Quickish Hits

Netflix is ditching five-star ratings in favor of a thumbs-up

Finally. Not sure why this took so long, considering YouTube did this almost 8 years ago.


Logan’s X-Men Timeline

After my post about Logan the other day, my friend Chikai sent me this video — a great overview of the arc of Wolverine (and the X-Men films in general).


(First published on 3/17/17 on 5ish Links, my newsletter)